The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index climbed 13 points to 17 in September, representing its third consecutive positive reading.
The index fell 14 points to 3.7 in August, “signaling a slower pace of growth than in July.”
The index climbed 17 points in July to its first positive reading since February.
The September reading — based on firms responding to the survey — indicates business activity “expanded at a solid clip” in New York, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its Tuesday news release.
A positive reading indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative reading on the index indicates a decline in the sector.
The survey found 40 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 23 percent reported that conditions had worsened, the New York Fed said.
New orders increased “modestly,” and shipments grew “significantly,” the New York Fed said.
Unfilled orders continued to decline. Inventories edged slightly lower, and delivery times were somewhat longer.
Employment was again little changed this month, though the average workweek picked up. Input prices increased at a faster pace than in August, and selling prices continued to increase modestly.
Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months.
The New York Fed distributes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey on the first day of each month to the same pool of about 200 manufacturing executives in New York. On average, about 100 executives return responses.
Visual credit: Federal Reserve Bank of New York website